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Supreme Court Closes Suo Moto Case Taken To Probe "Larger Conspiracy" Behind Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Ex-CJI Gogoi

Radhika Roy
18 Feb 2021 5:51 AM GMT
Supreme Court Closes Suo Moto Case Taken To Probe Larger Conspiracy Behind Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Ex-CJI Gogoi
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The Supreme Court on Thursday closed the the suo moto proceedings which were instituted to examine if there was a "larger conspiracy" behind the allegations of sexual harassment against the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The case titled "In Re: Matter Of Great Public Importance Touching Upon The Independence Of Judiciary" was considered today by a Bench of Justices Sanjay...

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The Supreme Court on Thursday closed the the suo moto proceedings which were instituted to examine if there was a "larger conspiracy" behind the allegations of sexual harassment against the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.

The case titled "In Re: Matter Of Great Public Importance Touching Upon The Independence Of Judiciary" was considered today by a Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian after a period of 1 year, 9 months.

Today, the bench headed by Justice Kaul observed that enquiry panel headed by former SC judge Justice AK Patnaik has submitted a report opining that a conspiracy behind the sexual harassment allegations cannot be "ruled out". The report also surmised that certain tough stances taken by ex-CJI Gogoi during his tenure could have triggered the allegations. The report also referred to an Intelligence Bureau input that several persons were unhappy with Justice Gogoi for driving the Assam-NRC process.

However, since over two years have passed, it is difficulty to obtain electronic evidence. Quoting from the enquiry report of Justice Patnaik, the bench observed that "the veracity of the allegations leveled by lawyer Utsav Singh Bains could not be verified completely due to the limited access of records and other collaborative material".

  In this backdrop, the bench closed the suo motu case observing "there is no requirement to keep the case going on"


BACKGROUND

In 2019, in response to some media reports on sexual harassment allegations against the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi made by a former Supreme Court employee, a three-Judge Bench of Supreme Court comprising of the CJI, Justices Arun Mishra and Sanjiv Khanna had held a special sitting.

The former CJI had noted that there was a bigger plot behind the allegations and, that the people who had instituted the same wanted to "deactivate the office of CJI" and therefore, the independence of the judiciary was under very serious threat.

In April 2019, a Bench of Justices Arun Misra, RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta ordered that the former Supreme Court Judge, Justice AK Patnaik, would hold an inquiry regarding the alleged conspiracy by fixers and disgruntled employees against the former CJI.

During the course of the proceedings, the Supreme Court also considered an affidavit filed by Advocate Utsav Bains claiming that he was offered Rs. 1.5 crores by 'fixers' to frame sexual harassment allegations against the then CJI Gogoi.

In August 2019, the Supreme Court-appointed one-man panel comprising of Justice Patnaik, holding the inquiry into allegations of "larger conspiracy" to frame Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, completed its task and is likely to submit the report by mid-September 2019. However, till date, there has been no public information available pertaining to the report.

In January 2020, the ex-Supreme Court staff who had made the allegations of sexual harassment by former CJI Ranjan Gogoi had been reinstated to services.

Click here to read/download the order


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